Gameday: (8) Florida Gators vs. Kansas State

Location: Sprint Center – Kansas City, MO [Capacity: 18,000]
Time: 8:00 p.m. EDT

TV: ESPN2/ESPN2HD (Mitch Holthus, Fran Fraschilla)
SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper app

No. 8 FLORIDA GATORS KANSAS STATE WILDCATS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Bruce Weber
Record: 8-1 Record: 8-2
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Big 12
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -11 | O/U 128

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida is 1-0 all-time against Kansas State with the lone game played in 2010 in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic in Sunrise, FL. UF is 18-12 all-time against current members of the Big 12.
» Four of the Gators’ regular starters are averaging double figures.
» Florida has held six of its seven opponents under 50 points.
» UF is 33-2 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponents under 71 points in a game.
» The Gators were just 3-5 against top-25 opponents last season with all five losses coming to top-three teams. UF is currently scheduled to take on seven top-25 opponents as part of the 2012-13 campaign and is already 1-1 in such games.
» Florida is third nationally in scoring defense (50.4 points), eighth in scoring margin (+22.0 points), 12th in rebound margin (+10.8) and 14th in field goal percentage defense (.361).
» The Gators are seventh nationally in fouling, committing 13.0 per game, and 133rd nationally in assists, dishing just 13.6 per game.
» Kansas State is ranked third nationally in three-point defense (.225), 15th in scoring defense (56.1), 19th in rebound margin (+8.4) and 265th in field goal percentage (.408).
» The Wildcats only have two players scoring in double digits and two averaging more than five boards per contest.
» Only six Kansas State players have made a three this year. Of the four players that have shot more than 20, the best shooter is hitting 36.6 percent of his attempts.
» Saturday’s contest is a neutral site game in Kansas City, which is two hours east of Manhattan, KS. The 2010 game played in Sunrise was about four hours south of Gainesville, FL.
» Despite the picture above, UF will be wearing orange alternate jerseys in the game.

Read the rest of the Florida-Kansas State preview…more after the break!

LAST TIME OUT

Two years ago, No. 24 Florida took on No. 6 Kansas State in a high-profile game played as a neutral-site contest at the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. The Gators looked like a legitimate underdog when the game began, falling behind 20-8 early before the contest turned ugly with both teams missing dozens of shots and committing plenty of turnovers. UF eventually put together a 42-13 scoring stretch to pull out way ahead of KSU. Jacob Pullen posted a game-high 19 points for the Wildcats and was the only player to score in double figures for his team. Florida had three double-digit scorers including Vernon Macklin, who was 5-for-8 with 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks on the afternoon.

WHAT’S AT STAKE / PLAYER TO WATCH

FLORIDA
Though the early season for Florida has consisted of eight blowout wins, the Gators lost their toughest game so far on the road at Arizona on Dec. 15. Florida will be participating in just its second game outside of the state so far this season and is looking to earn a decisive victory before ending the year with another neutral site game against Air Force in Sunrise, FL. A victory would allow the Gators to finish the non-conference schedule with fewer than two losses, something that has not been accomplished by Florida since the 2005-06 season.

» Junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin (#5) may not be starting as of press time but he is playing the third-most minutes on the team and is leading the Gators in three-point shooting, connecting on 48 percent of his attempts. Wilbekin is also dishing the rock better than anyone else on the squad, picking up 4.1 assists per game while playing sound defense. He is one of the most important members of Florida’s 2012-13 team even if he’s not one of the biggest names.

KANSAS STATE
The Wildcats have been throttled by both top-25 opponents they have faced so far this season, losing by double digits to Michigan in November and Gonzaga already this month. The Gators present yet another tough test, but Weber’s team is doing a few things right that can give them a chance in this contest. Kansas State is one of the most proficient rebounding teams in the nation and is also displaying great ball movement this season. If the Wildcats can capitalize on second-chance points and keep the ball out of the hands of UF’s high-powered offense, an upset victory for KSU is not impossible.

» Sophomore PG Angel Rodriguez (#13) is one of three starting guards leading Kansas State in scoring. While his compatriots have displayed more well-rounded games, he is focused mostly on distribution and is averaging a team-high 4.4 dimes per game while hitting 83.3 percent of his free throws and scoring 10.7 points per game. Wilbekin and Rodriguez will likely go head-to-head, and whoever gets the best of the other could go a long way to deciding which team leaves Kansas City with the big win.

CLIMBING THE CHARTS

Senior guard Kenny Boynton is in his fourth year as a starter for the Gators. He is quickly making his way up many of Florida’s all-time lists and is already first in school history in three-point field goal attempts (813). He currently leads the SEC in career points (1,702) and three-pointers (278) among active players.

Career scoring
1. Ronnie Williams – 2,090 points
4. Erving Walker – 1,777 points
5. Kenny Boynton – 1,702 points

Minutes
1. Erving Walker – 4,358
5. Ronnie Williams – 3,898
6. Kenny Boynton – 3,777

Starts
1. Andrew DeClerq – 128
4. Eugene McDowell – 117
5. Kenny Boynton – 114

Three-pointers made
1. Lee Humphrey – 288
2. Erving Walker – 285
3. Kenny Boynton – 278

Field goal attempts
1. Stacey Poole – 1,578
4. Dwayne Schintzius – 1,407
5. Kenny Boynton – 1,395

Boynton is also approaching the top 10 in games played (13 away), field goals made (18 away) free throws made (34 away) and assists (52 away).

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